The 2019 Daviess County Lions Club Fair concluded Saturday night with vibrant fireworks in the near-cloudless sky and the roar of a tractor pull below.
It was a relaxed, breezy evening for most fair visitors, as hundreds rode carnival rides, visited winning 4-H exhibits or pet animals ahead of the Open Talent Show and Battle of the Bluegrass Truck & Tractor Pull.
Erica and Clint Wilson brought their 1-year-old son Berkley to the fair for a second time to see the massive machinery contest.
"We brought him last year, but he was too young to remember," Erica Wilson laughed. "He loves this kind of stuff, so we're happy to keep coming."
The pulling series travels across the midwest and south and makes a two-night stop in Owensboro each year to wow crowds with alcohol-, diesel- and gas-powered vehicles. Many spectators aren't all that familiar with the different pulling classes or the scrutinized work put into modifying tractors to pull a weighted sled down an earthen track, but they do enjoy the deafening clamor and the dicey wheelies.
Danielle Steele, a 17-year-old recent graduate from Ohio County High School came to the Daviess County fair for the second time this year with her boyfriend just to witness the tractor pulling showdown.
"I don't know much about it, but I like it," she said. "I like the competition involved in it."
But competition wasn't limited to the fairground's Miles Stadium on Saturday night. Over at Bittel Hall, the Open Talent Show put some of Daviess County's best singers, musicians and more head-to-head for a chance to compete at the Kentucky State Fair.
Latasha Shemwell, a Lions Club member, has helped organize and host the talent show for nearly a decade, and it holds a special place in her heart, she says, because of her own background in music. Now a vocal coach in Owensboro, Shemwell said she grew up in a family that couldn't afford vocal lessons. But, throughout high school in Madisonville, she had the opportunity to go to singing camps with the help of Lions Club grants -- opportunities she believes kickstarted her musical career.
"Now I feel like I'm sort of giving back," she said. "That's why it's so important to me. I wouldn't have gone to college and been where I am today without the help of the Lions Club, and I want to help start other children's careers, too."
Some of the talent Saturday brought audible gasps from the nearly packed-out crowd, as children ages 6-12 sang and played guitar before the 13-21 division got started.
Newly crowned Miss Daviess County Kendall Terry, 19, of Owensboro enjoyed the show, too. Terry was crowned on June 28 with a kids backpack program platform. She said she's planning an event from 4-6 p.m. on July 27 at Wesleyan Christian Center in Owensboro where she plans to provide 500 school supplies-packed backpacks and feed 1,000 people in Owensboro.
"I'm so happy to have the crown and sash so that I can promote my platform in the community," said the Kentucky Wesleyan College sophomore. "This is such a wonderful opportunity."
And 5-year-old Beau Simon, who was recently crowned Little Mister Daviess County at the fair was excited about his crown, too. He was a bit shy when asked about his talent, but with some encouragement from his mom soon proudly performed his online video game (Fortnite)-inspired dances.
Austin Ramsey, 270-691-7302, email@example.com, Twitter: @austinrramsey